Posts Tagged ‘TFs’

To Have And Have Not

March 18, 2012

The mildest U.S. winter in decades has helped reduce reliance on private indoor facilities rented for the purposes to safeguarding 360 flips from rust and cobwebs in recent months, and probably also helped to nurture the “Occupy” movement such that occupiers across the country were able to blow out half a candle in recent days, situated atop a free-range cake and served family-style at a sanctioned local park/streetcorner. But deeper strife may yet lay ahead.

Zered Bassett, raised in the shadow of a failed Dukakis presidential bid and a onetime beneficiary of Mitt Romney’s health programme, suggests in the Appleyard TSM that skateboarding may be watching the rise of its own so-called 1%, and an inevitable widening of the income and performance gap between two increasingly disparate camps:

The Skateboard Mag: To go back to Street League, why don’t you compete in that contest?
Zered Bassett: Why are we talking about Street League? I’m not a contest skater, man.
TSM: I think you’re capable of doing really well in contests.
ZB: I don’t have a skatepark that I can skate and learn tricks at to take to a contest and feel confident enough to skate the contest well. If I had a skatepark that I could skate with my homies every day and learn shit, not in the public eye, I’d feel way more confident.

It’s a well-worn chestnut that for every Mark Appleyard, switch backside flipping in finely tuned leathers and pushing a Jaguar, there are a half-dozen Rob Welshes manning liquor-store tills and Wade Speyers filling large dump trucks full of debris and then dumping them at a dirty dump. Even Heath Kirchart, receiver of several signature shoe payment deals, was reduced to delivering pizzas and servicing snack machines upon his self-directed retirement. Things are tough all over out there and keep in mind this isn’t some fly-by-night youtube hot-shoe we’re discussing here, this is Zered Bassett, who’s either awash in Red Bull energy beverage endorsement fees or a consistently poor chooser of hatwear.

Yet Zered Bassett goes wanting when it comes to private parkdom, ensuring he will never develop the machinelike consistency that makes Nyjah Huston, Chaz Ortiz and Ryan Sheckler such riveting competitors to watch amass those hard-to-follow Street League points, and bring home the big moneybags (or at least get the chance to fall victim to high-profile jewelry heists). While Paul Rodriguez parlays his Fuel TV heroics into lucrative sponsorship arrangements with Target Corp., that in turn provides branded obstacles with which to expand his personal training ground, Zered Bassett moves to Brooklyn and farms his beard.

While Nyjah Huston blows tens of thousands of American dollars on hot cars, Ricky Oyola spends his winter driving a truck in Philadelphia. And as Rob Dyrdek lays peacefully asleep on his yacht off the shores of Key West, the bullet-riddled body of Danny Renaud, stone dead, is borne ashore by friends and well-wishers in the still of night after a lifetime of hard choices and short chances finally caught up with him on that one last run back from Cuba.

Josh Kalis: The Sentamentalist

April 9, 2011

Not sure how many folks celebrate or even remember Black Label’s Jim Gagne, a blue collar street-and-transition man known to pack a keg into the back of a truck to ratchet up the awesome factor in a given session. Don’t necessarily recall tricks in particular but the dude always got a thumbs up on general principle because of how he saw and embraced his “small-town mentality,” as per an old interview in Thrasher that detailed the keg scenario. It was not on the level of a Fred Gall interview but pretty close.

Around that same time Josh Kalis was gathering momentum for what would be a decade-long run of pretty much unparalleled video/photo coverage, arguably peaking with the “Photosynthesis” video section, pretty much every trick difficult and snappy and done well at eye-pleasing spots and sometimes in swishy pants. Like the coyote or famous zebra mussel he has proven able to acclimate to and thrive in the most metro of zones across New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Barcelona, as detailed in mostly chronological year-order over a recent “Epicly Laterd” broadcast. Probably you wouldn’t call 200,000-person Grand Rapids, MI a one-horse town but by comparison you maybe wonder if Kalis is on some level the same sort of small-town sentimental type as Jim Gagne.

Case in point, the sepia toned recollections of Love Park days gone by in the “Laterd” and revelations of how Kalis has since chased the meetup-spot vibe to other venues with what sound like gradually diminishing results. In the Toy Machine Thrasher that’s out now he discusses the Embarcadero era.

When you watch a video part with those guys, you see them slapping fives with everyone and having fun. I loved that time when you could just be all together at a spot, egging each other on. Everyone’s feeding off each other. Nobody wants to punk out, ’cause their friends over here might make fun of them. I like that stuff.

Kalis believes the organic vibe of a session bleeds through into whatever photos or footage wind up getting produced in between the smoked cigarettes and cracked jokes and musings on theoretical physics traded with local hobos. As per the “Laterd,” Kalis values honesty both in terms of how tricks come to pass and what’s presented in any finished product, opting to put forth the last year’s travels and daily routines as opposed to stacking DV tapes in a garage somewheres.

Kinda worried about Kalis, not because this all isn’t a worthy effort that other dudes could/maybe should follow. Concerned though that we’re seeing a cowboy slowly fenced in. Hassles from the man plus proliferation of skateparks times glorification of private warehouse training facilities makes me wonder how many organic scene/spots are bound to be left in five/ten/forty years, if Kalis is holding to the phantom of a dying vibe or some equally chilling concept. Wonder if the torch he’s carrying is going out, or turning into a plastic flashlight, or maybe even a more bizarre and ominous analogy like it’s actually the headlamp of an oncoming train and the Mayans were right and we shouldn’t really be worrying about any of this.

Sorta related to all this, wonder whether the question Kalis raises with regard to what footage inspires him (or vice versa) points back to all those dudes occupying benches and taking mounting hardware off broken boards and rolling joints in the handful of seconds before or after a trick goes down on the screen–like whether a video clip’s improved by its background noise, the suggestion of good times being had in the sun at some ledges around the corner and how it plays off all the potential inside the deck/trucks/wheels setup and even the street in front of your house. Stopping here before we hit Marc Johnson in “Operandi” mode.